Fitting the fiberglass
not as hard as I was dreading. It
did take a lot of time, and installing and
removing the bottom cowling by myself wasn’t fun.
But with a little patience, I ended up with a
pretty good fit.
I started by making the
marks aft of the firewall, just like
the directions say. I
also made a mark
for the center of the top of the fuselage.
After I had the spinner
backing plate temporarily installed,
I clamped the front of the top cowl into place.
I used spacers between the backing plate and
the front of the cowl, and
c-clamps to hold it in position.
I then marked the middle
of the aft end so I could align it
with the center of the fuselage. And
transferred the marks for the firewall.
Instead of removing and
having to re-clamp the top cowling,
I used a 2x4 block to raise the aft end up off the fuselage. This allowed me to trim
and sand with the
cowl still in place.
I made the initial cut,
then removed the 2x4 to check the
fit, marked where I
needed to sand,
inserted the 2x4, and sanded. I
this process until I had a good fit between the top cowling and the
Then I drilled and
clecoed the top cowling to the firewall
I temporarily held the
lower cowl up to see how much overlap
I had for the seam between the top and bottom cowlings.
My fiberglass cowling was flush at the front, but
overlapped by about two inches at the firewall.
So I knew I had some room to trim either the
top or bottom cowl to get
the line looking the way I wanted.
bottom of the top cowling was aligned horizontally with the main axes
in-flight position. So
all I needed to
do was clean it up. I
used a thin
aluminum strip with a straight edge to mark the bottom.
Then sanded it until I had a straight line.
With the top cowling
installed, I placed the bottom cowl
into position as best I could. Because
the sides overlapped with the top, I couldn’t make it perfectly to
start. I aligned
the front and held it in place with
duct tape. I then
wrapped a strap around
the aft end to pull it up into position.
I had one side out of the top cowl, and the
other inside the top
I started trimming on the
bottom side of the cowling. I
trimmed only enough to go around the curves
of the firewall. Again
I trimmed a
little, fit it, sanded, and refitted.
was a pain removing and installing the cowling every time, but it was
way to get a good fit.
the bottom was pulled up into position, I marked and
cut the sides and back 1/8” larger than I thought I would need. Then I reinstalled the
fiberglass cowling and checked
I realized the
front of the lower cowling was a little
too far forward, so I trimmed a little off the back edge. Then I noticed the bottom
flush (up and down) with the belly of the fuselage, so I trimmed a
the tops. I went on
in this fashion
until I was happy with the fit all the way around.
I finally drilled the
rest of the hinges onto the firewall
and the hinges to connect the top and bottom halves.
Hinges and Doors
found installing the hinges and access doors to be
very straightforward. I
did find that
after everything was riveted together, I had trouble getting the hinge
the way into the hinges holding the halves together.
I ended up having to sand a little off the
lips of the halves at some spots to get them to fit.
I did this by removing the hinge pin so I
could pull the halves apart a little.
Then I folded a piece of sandpaper in half and
slipped it between the
cowling halves. I
sanded back and forth
a little until that spot of sandpaper was worn out.
Then I refolded it a little farther up the
page and sanded again. After
tries, I had a uniform gap along the seam, and the hinge pins fit in
from Fiberglass Cowling
to Finishing Kit,
or to Fiberglass
from Fiberglass Cowling
to Kit Plane Advice Home